Alan Connolly of Cork in action against Jason Sampson and Ben Coneely of Offaly during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A match between Offaly and Cork at Glenisk O’Connor Park in Tullamore, Offaly. Photo: Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

A super Saturday in store

The national holiday celebrations have forced a change to the original Allianz National League schedule which will now see both Cork teams in action on Saturday in what are yet again important games.

On the same afternoon, the ladies footballers are in action in what is now a must-win game if they are to avoid the drop to Division 2.

Allianz NFL Division 2

Cork v Meath at Páirc Tailteann Navan at 2pm on Saturday

“It was excellent - got through a lot of quality work without interruption and in lovely weather.”John Cleary referring to the 4 day training camp in Portugal from which they returned on Sunday.

They went there on the back of two wins that improved their position in a very competitive division and the mood was good. “We were buoyed by the wins but still under no illusions that we have still two very tough games coming up.”

The first of these is old rivals Meath in Navan who are already safe from relegation and in the Sam Maguire Cup. Will they be a bit more casual in their approach?

“I wouldn’t think so, in fact they might play with a bit more freedom now that the pressure is off and they are playing at home and that’s a help.”

John is also mindful that Meath have had some good results. “They have got a draw against Cavan and won the big derby clash with Kildare and they are a proud football county so we know we have a tough test ahead.”

The manner of the win over Kildare was important. “It was a great response and the goal before half-time changed the game and while we eased off near the end, it was pleasing to win after the victory in Fermanagh.”

Injuries have impacted all season and while they are easing, some are still not available. “Rory (Maguire) has a hamstring so he’s out for a few weeks but both Micheál Aodh (Martin) and Kevin (O’Donovan) are back training.

One player who made an important contribution, (scoring 1-2) was Conor Corbett. John said he was missed. “We could have done with Conor in the first 3 games, as he was excellent in the McGrath Cup and yeah his form is good now.”

With 2 games left, John knows they control their own destiny. “While we could and probably should have more points, but it is what it is for now and we need and want to win these games, be safe in the division and see where that takes us for the Sam Maguire Cup.”

The permutations are simple; win the next 2 and there is no issue. Win next week and defeats for Fermanagh (v Louth) and Kildare (v Donegal) and the pressure will be off before the Armagh game on Saturday week.

The starting 15 will be interesting - will Chris Kelly be retained in goal, who will come in for Maguire? One thing certain; if the key players like Ian Maguire, Colm O’Callaghan, Conor Corbett, Brian O’Driscoll and Mattie Taylor perform at the top of their game, a 3rd win on the bounce could be achieved.

Full commentary as ever on C103.

Allianz NHL Division 1A

Cork v Wexford at Chadwicks Wexford Park on Saturday at 3pm

In post match interviews, manager Pat Ryan always maintained that the sole focus was the opening game in the Munster Championship away to Waterford on 21 April and while that has not changed, he must be pleased that for next season a place in Division 1A has been secured.

Okay there is the possibility of a massive Dublin win over Westmeath - some reckoning it needs to be as high as 60 points - and a Wexford win would deny Cork the spot; unlikely it must be said.

There is another permutation; a Cork win and a Waterford win over Kilkenny would see Cork into the semi-final, with Limerick the likely opposition.

In the immediate aftermath of the facile win over Offaly, Pat was happy with the display, especially getting goals and the impact off the bench. “We haven’t been scoring too many goals and it was nice to get them today because no doubt you are going to need them in the big games later in the season.”

In that regard Pat was delighted for Alan Connolly who got 3. “He’s had a tough time with injuries and he’s worked hard to get back and his fitness levels are fantastic and it’s just reward for all his hard work.”

Brian Hayes and Darragh Fitzgibbon were the other goals scorers both introduced as 2nd half substitutes.

“They took them well, and as I said it’s important to have a strong panel and we need everyone given the way the championship is played - very little time between games. You are going to pick up knocks and you have to be prepared for that.”

It was Fitzgibbon’s and Declan Dalton’s first appearance of the league.

Cork will have learned very little from last Sunday but what has come into focus is those putting their hand up for selection particularly in defence - add in Ciaran Joyce, Sean O’Donoghue and possibly Mark Coleman to the 6 that started in Tullamore, a bit of picking for the selectors.

The composition of the 15 for the trip to Wexford will be interesting.

Patrick Horgan, Joyce, Tommy O’Connell, Shane Kingston and Cathal McCarthy will all come into the equation.

Wexford are actually unbeaten but that includes 3 draws, one surprisingly with Offaly, and that despite the absence of a raft of players including Lee Chin.

A win for the home side along with a Waterford win will also see them grab the semi-final spot.

Cork will want to finish the league on a high and with a lot of players looking for a place in the match day squad for the championship, they look well equipped to win.

Commentary is again on C103.

Lidl LF Division 1

Cork v Dublin at DCU St Clares on Saturday at 5pm

Speaking after their loss to Mayo last time out, Cork manager Shane Roynane hinted that a season in Division 2 might not be the worst case scenario given that the team are in transition and might benefit them in the long term.

That said he also made the point that “we are not done yet; we have two very tough away games to come and we will give them our best shot and see where that takes us.”

The first of these is against a Dublin side that went to the Fraher Field and beat a Waterford side that were comfortable winners over Cork in Páirc Uí Rinn.

Dublin would appear to be coming good as the business end of the league is upon us and are still in the hunt for a place in the semi-final and the majority of their big players are back in action.

Cork somewhat altered their tactics for the Mayo game with a more defensive approach adopted but their failure to convert a number of chances eventually cost them.

Confining any team to 0-9 should be enough to win any game but when you can only score 0-7, that tells its own tale.

Melissa Duggan, Hannah Looney, Libby Coppinger and Sabdh O’Leary remain big players for them, but even their best might not be good enough this time.

Off the field Cork lost 3 outstanding players with the retirement of the O’Sullivan sisters Ciara and Doireann and Aghada’s Roisin Phelan - between them a total of 18 All-Ireland medals and a multitude of All-Stars, plus the wealth of experience that is now lost to a team in transition.

All 3 have rendered Cork and indeed ladies football in general outstanding service and they go with the best wishes and thanks of everyone.


A win, a draw and a loss from the 3 games played last weekend. The win by the Intermediate team puts them into the league final on Saturday week against Tipperary who they beat in round 1.

The draw was in the All-Ireland Minor Championship and scoring only 1 point in the 2nd half will be a concern especially as Waterford were reduced to 14 players.

There was a first defeat for the seniors who despite a solid defensive display coughed up 2 late goals to Tipperary and it leaves 4 teams, Cork, Tipperary, Galway and Waterford tied at the top all on 6 pts, (3 for a win in camogie), with the top two going direct to the final.

Had Cork won and then beat bottom of the table Clare on Saturday week they would almost certainly have made the final, as it is it looks like the final round of games will decide the pairing.

Clare would appear to be out of the equation and Kilkenny on just 3 points have it all to do, the picture will be a bit clearer after the next round when Tipperary travel to Kilkenny and Galway enjoy home advantage with Waterford.

Two of the teams currently level at the top will drop points, which will make for an interesting last day.

Cork had a few injuries going into last Saturday with Saoirse McCarthy the main absentee. It was good to see Laura Tracey return after injury and with 2 good weeks training coming up, they will need to be much better.

Monday is an important day for the Cork Camogie Board with the official opening of the magnificent complex in Castle Road, 11 years after the pitch, which is in fantastic condition, was opened.

Camogie Association President Hilda Breslin will perform the opening - fitting as her 3 year term is coming to a conclusion, while former GAA president Larry McCarthy, who through his late mother Eadin, a former County Board officer, has strong connections with camogie in Cork.

An updated history of Cork Camogie 2001-2023 penned by Mary Moran will also be launched, proceedings get underway at 2pm and all are welcome to attend.